“Herbipolis in medieval times”, “Finest Baroque palace in Europe”
One last place to visit for this long weekend taking the advantage of the Monday bank holiday in the UK, we left Wurzburg for the last, because it’s the largest of the cities (apart of Frankfurt of course, our base). In here you will need definitely much more time to enjoy and sightseeing, on top of the mandatory visit to the key highlights in the city, the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed Residence, and the Marienberg Fortress. Only with these two half of your overall time here will be taken. The rest is among the historic old town filled with countless churches in all architectural styles and beautiful palaces, houses and monument, despite the almost entire destruction of the city during the WWII air raids.
Like the unfortunate fate of countless cities in Germany, WWII took its toll and not only in death, but the mass destruction of everything standing. Wurzburg took only 17 minutes to be razed to the ground by the British. In the good note (for architecture), the city raised from the ashes with a great reconstruction, and it is today an important tourist destination included in many tours through Germany.
Wurzburg and this region of Franconia in Bavaria in one of the most important in wine producing in the country notoriously for dry white. If you have the chance why not to try some with your lunch, restaurants here are generally having a down to earth prices; and as a curiosity, it is home to the oldest pizzeria in Germany, from 1952. However when in Germany, it’s of course best to have nice sausages and fries instead. I cannot imagine any trip to the country and not having at least once a currywurst. Other than this, there is nothing else for now to be said in this brief introduction to the city.
For more information about Wurzburg check this Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites, although there is very little extra information. Germany’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Wurzburg:
- Marienberg Fortress On a hill at the west of the Main river and city offering great views towards them. Built from the 8th century, the current structures date to the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
- Old Main Bridge (Alte Mainbrücke) Built between 1473 and 1543, linking the Marienberg Fortress and west bank of the river to the historic town on the east bank.
- Riverside At both banks of the Main River, from Alte Mainbrücke you will have great views of the old colourful houses and ancient warehouses.
-Power Station Attached to the eastern side of the Alte Mainbrücke, was built in 1921 fitting to the architecture of the surrounding area.
- Domstrasse The main throughfare linking from the Main River towards the Cathedral.
-Old City Hall Square Few meters ahead in the street from the Old Bridge.
-Vierröhrenbrunnen The “Four Tubes wells” fountain, designed by Balthasar Neumann in 1727, stands in the middle of this little square.
-City Hall A complex of some buildings linked together ranging in dates from 1339 when the chapel was built, the 1453 tower and first public clock, and from the 16th and 17th centuries the other wings.
- Cathedral Right at the end of Domstrasse, the 4th largest Romanesque church in the country and considered a masterpiece of the Salian period architecture.
- Neumünster Next to the Cathedral, was an 11th century Romanesque chapel, rebuilt over time and enlarged, having the current structure in Baroque style from the late 17th century.
- Kiliansplatz The small square at the back of both the Cathedral and Neumünster offering great views over both constructions.
- University of Würzburg Right behind the Cathedral and Neumünster along both Ebracher and Hofstraße streets as they head towards the Residence. It’s one of the oldest in Germany, having the “old university” in beautiful 17th century Renaissance buildings and courtyards, and the “new university” in elegant classical from the 19th century.
- Residence Completed in 1744 for the Prince-Bishops of Würzburg who resided in the Marienberg Fortress at the time, is a masterpiece of Austrian/South German baroque style. The interiors are a blend between Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles, being the Grand Staircase a Baroque masterpiece not to be missed, home to the largest fresco in the world adorning the ceiling. Prince Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn wanted a palace comparable to Versailles in Paris or Schönbrunn in Vienna. This was clearly achieved through the years until completion.
- Market Square (Marktplatz) The main square within the historic centre, few meters north from the Neumünster completely surrounded by historic buildings and sights. If you access it from the northeast side, remember it goes all the way behind the Marienkapelle towards the back courtyard of the City Hall.
-Marienkapelle At the western side, built between 1377 and 1479 remaining as the finest Late Gothic building in the city.
-Haus zum Falken The best example of Rococo period in the city. Formerly an inn and library, it is nowadays the tourist information office.
- Schönbornstraße This is the main perpendicular street north-south through the old town. Starts by the Marktplatz and ends by the Juliusspital at its north, beginning of the very elegant northern district.
- Juliusspital This large Baroque hospital with its nice courtyard and a church is home in its basement to the second largest winery in Germany.
- Stift Haug Built between 1670 and 1691 as the first Baroque church in the Franconia region. East from the Juliusspital.
- Würzburger Stein Vineyard Overlooking the River Main north of the city is one of Germany’s oldest and most reputed vineyards.
The nearest airports to Wurzburg are either Frankfurt and Nuremberg, pretty much equidistant to each other at 120 kilometres where the city lies in between, and Munich. Any information about the base city from where we came, Frankfurt, and its great network of public transport is published and available in the relevant guide here.
The city benefits and enjoys from a privilege location in between some of the major cities in the country. It is a node for rail and roads therefore relatively easy and straightforward for reaching it from Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Hanover and farther beyond with direct trains towards Cologne or Hamburg.
Once you are in the city, although there is a good network of buses and 4 tram lines, you won’t need to worry about how to move around. It is small and very compact, and the only “longer” distance to do is for reaching the Marienberg Fortress, not more than 20 minutes’ walk from the main street in the historic centre. Walking to every sight is the easiest and best way to enjoy and sightseeing through.
Although we did not stay overnight in Wurzburg as our base was Frankfurt, I cannot recommend anywhere in here, however the city boast a good selection of hotels and bed & breakfast smaller accommodations. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, Hotels Click, LateRooms or Ebookers.
For a travel guide of Frankfurt including the hotel we stayed for our tour, click here.